The Kroger Co.’s Louisville division is pledging $1.5 million to the University of Louisville (UofL), in Kentucky, as part of the grocer’s wider effort to reduce hunger and waste in local communities.
The donation will create the Kroger Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Fund at UofL, which will provide support in three main areas: diversity and inclusion, food security and sustainability, and leadership development.
“Kroger is so proud to be part of this innovative and truly remarkable partnership,” said Ann Reed, Louisville division president for Cincinnati-based Kroger. “We love the University of Louisville and all the wonderful programs that are available in the city through its leadership. Our combined efforts around food insecurity and sustainability and our focus on diversity and inclusion will drive innovation and improvement for Kroger and the university.”
Kroger’s donation consists of:
- $80,000 annually for undergraduate scholarships, beginning this fall, with strong preference given to low-income, underrepresented minorities pursuing STEM+H careers. Kroger Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Scholars will develop and present projects to a panel of UofL, Kroger and community professionals. Projects will address such topics as food waste diversion, food access for underprivileged families and communities, and recycling and sustainability initiatives.
- $30,000 annually to UofL’s Office of Diversity & Equity to provide student services that will increase the likelihood of retention and degree completion of Black, Latinx, LGBTQ and female students.
- $30,000 annually to create and fuel a UofL Employee Success Center, enabling it to provide leadership and professional development training to staff and faculty.
- $10,000 annually to UofL’s Sustainability Center for a greater number of zero-waste efforts and on-site composting expansion.
“We are thankful to the Louisville Kroger division and its many associates for stepping up to assist the students, faculty and staff of the University of Louisville,” noted UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “This generous gift will greatly strengthen our efforts to foster diversity and inclusion, promote sustainability on campus, and build the next generation of leaders.”
Kroger’s gift enables support for the renovation and expansion of the Cardinal Cupboard and the donation of a vehicle to help volunteers collect items to stock the on-campus food pantry. Additionally, the Kroger Mobile Market, acting through the Dare to Care Food Bank, will make stops at UofL’s Belknap and Health Sciences Center campuses to provide access to healthy and convenient fresh food.
Additional benefits of the donation are an exclusive discount program for all full- and part-time employees, in which faculty and staff who present a current UofL ID at checkout will receive special discounts and offers, and cooking classes and information sessions hosted by Kroger dietitians, nutritionists and other experts.
With a Louisville division operating 116 retail food stores in Kentucky, southern Indiana and southern Illinois, Krogeremploys nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,757 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 3 on The PG100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food retailers in the United States.